Stintz Leads Call for Special Council Meeting (Update 3)

Updated February 10, 2012 at 1:00 am:

The description of the reporting mechanism and due date for Sheppard “expert panel” has been corrected to match what Council actually passed.  The information previously quoted here came from the original version of the motion.

Updated February 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm:

The minutes from the Special Meeting of Council are now available online.

Updated February 9, 2012 at noon:

On February 8, Toronto Council voted to seize control of the transit agenda from Mayor Ford and to support much of the original Transit City / Metrolinx 5-in-10 Plan that was approved in 2009.  I will publish a separate article on the debate and the motions later today.

Additional coverage is available from Torontoist, and a compendium of links to other media is available at Spacing Toronto.

The two most important motions were from TTC Chair Karen Stintz.

The first confirms Council’s support for the originally planned subway-surface alignment of the Eglinton LRT line, for the conversion of the Scarborough RT to LRT technology with an extension north to Sheppard (and eventually to Malvern), and for the Finch LRT west from Keele (the future Finch West station on the Spadina subway) to Humber College. Council also authorizes the TTC to discuss with Metrolinx the feasibility of several future projects:  a Sheppard West extension to Downsview, a Sheppard LRT to the Zoo, a Danforth subway extension to the Scarborough Town Centre, an Eglinton extension from Jane to Pearson Airport, and the Downtown Relief Line.

The second creates a special panel with broad enough representation to command political and technical respect.  This panel will advise Council on “the most effective means of delivering the greatest number of riders with the funds currently allocated for a public transportation project on Sheppard”.  The panel is to report back to a special meeting of Council no later than March 21, 2012.

Reaction from Mayor Ford and his faction was predictably hostile, but now extends to openly defying the will of Council.  Meanwhile, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli, issued a press release affirming the importance of support from “council, as a whole”.  Chiarelli has asked Metrolinx to report as quickly as possible on the effects of Council’s position.

Original post from February 6, 2012 follows the break.

The Globe and Mail and the Star report today that Karen Stintz, Chair of the TTC, will file a request with the City Clerk for a special meeting of City Council.  The business to be debated will be a reaffirmation of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding for LRT lines on Eglinton, Sheppard and Finch, and the conversion of the SRT to LRT.  Unlike Mayor Ford’s agreement with Premier McGuinty, this MOU has been approved by Council.

A special meeting can be called at the request of a majority of Council (23 members) and must be held within 48 hours making Wednesday, February 8 the likely date for a showdown with the Mayor.

The Globe article suggests that this move will doom Stintz’ position as TTC Chair and will result in the swift removal of Gary Webster, who Stintz has supported against the open wishes of the Ford brothers, as Chief General Manager.  This begs the question of whether another special Council meeting will be required to replace the existing members of the TTC board with a more balanced group that will not attempt to thwart the will of Council on the rapid transit file and many other issues.

108 thoughts on “Stintz Leads Call for Special Council Meeting (Update 3)

  1. Now to inject humour into this discussion.

    The way I look at it… Rob Ford thinks that Toronto’s citizens support him 100% for Subways and Toronto City Council does not want to bury the lines underground on Eglinton. Perhaps this will be the result of the next town hall meeting?

    After all… if you cannot bury the lines and you want a subway.. what about a monorail?

    Steve: The lyrics are far too complicated for Ford to remember.

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  2. Here is a scenario: Queens Park gives the City (Mayor) until the MOU expires to agree to what Council voted for. No acceptance, no money. Take back the $8B ! Simple solution. Reduces the Provincial debt. Next election a new mayor (Stintz?) gets elected and signs a new agreement with Metrolinx/Ontario.

    Steve: There is no expiry date on the MoU. The date in question is a deadline Queen’s Park set for getting an answer out of City Hall. Council has voted on all but Sheppard, and the review panel is to deal with that by late March. The $8B has nothing to do with the provincial debt, at least on paper, because this is balanced off by the new assets the money buys. It’s accounting trickery, but that’s how government works.

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  3. @jos callinet said

    “I will be stunned and amazed if one single shovel is “in the ground” a year from now”

    Shovels are already in the ground. I saw it last night on the way to the public meeting for Keele Station. They are digging a hole that will soon have to be filled in again ala Mike Harris at Eg West Subway station years ago!

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  4. “Richard @ 5:45 pm”

    If I recall one of Ford’s election promises was to have the Shepard LRT changed to a Subway, and in operation by 2015.

    Rob Ford and his staff (Strategic Manager) said that private funding would carry the project.

    It takes 6 years to build the Shepard line as a subway.

    As of this date funding is not in place. So get the private funding in place. Like TODAY.

    And then the Shepard line goes underground.

    It’s not complicated.

    Steve: Except that they lied about the private funding, which they don’t have a hope of getting. Please don’t tell me about private sector “investment”, it’s just debt in disguise. Even their own study shows that the money will have to come from taxes of one sort or another.

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  5. Interesting times, indeed.

    Could you please Steve share your thoughts on the following issues:

    1) If Ford asks the Council to run a plebiscite on transit matters, will the Council find it politically untenable to reject such request?

    Steve: No they won’t. Toronto rarely has plebiscites, and the premise of government is that it is elected to govern. Suppose the shoe were on the other foot and I demanded that there be a plebiscite on the cancellation of Transit City. We would hear no end of talk about “mandates” and “the people have spoken”. Ford was elected, but so were 44 Councillors, and the votes for those 44 count for something too.

    2) What is the likely outcome of a plebiscite? People who don’t know financial details are likely to vote for subways, while those more informed are more likely to endorse LRT, at least as a part of solution. But who gets more than 50%?

    Steve: I suspect subways would lose if people were also asked to support the taxes needed to pay for them. Even if this were not on the ballot, we would have a period of intense campaigning and information on one subject, rather than a “platform” consisting of a midnight YouTube posting and a mantra of hunting for gravy.

    3) If the Sheppard East panel chooses a small subway extension rather than LRT, will it make the whole plan appear more balanced, and therefore more likely to be supported by >50% in case of a plebiscite?

    Steve: Possibly. One important point in discussions of the Victoria Park extension is that we don’t know the marginal cost of this over an LRT plan. There is a tunnel under the DVP either way that must contribute substantially to the total cost. The biggest addition for a subway option will be the cost of new stations.

    4) Would it make sense to re-prioritize Finch West vs Sheppard East: build Finch West LRT within the next 5 years, and defer the start of Sheppard East construction (whether subway or LRT) till 2015? (The rationale is to reduce the policy change risk, so that even if the wrestling on Sheppard continues for a few more years, at least Finch W gets built.)

    Steve: I agree with this approach especially if the subway to Victoria Park option is chosen. One of the motions at Council this week asked for Finch to be prioritized, and this motion passed.

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  6. @ RobinNorthToronto

    You should read my previous comments on this blog. I was NEVER in favor of a Sheppard subway. I NEVER believed that the private sector would spend money on a subway line with no way to make any money on the project.

    The reason why I wrote “Scarborough is screwed” is because I was unclear as to what was happening on Sheppard East. I have always advocated for the Sheppard East LRT and the news reports were stating that council will figure out Sheppard later. I took that to mean no transit improvements for northeast Scarborough. In Toronto political speak, later almost always means never.

    Steve’s article on Torontoist clarified the situation but I still remain skeptical that northeast Scarborough will see any transit improvements. If the “panel of experts” decide to extend the Sheppard subway to Victoria Park I will consider that a disaster for northeast Scarborough in terms of receiving new transit infrastructure because the subway extension would stop at the Scarborough border. As a result of these developments and a lack of firm commitment from council for an LRT on Sheppard East, I maintain my original position. Scarborough gets screwed again. Well northeast Scarborough anyways.

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  7. Steve wrote ” Except they lied about private funding….”

    I am not sure it is lying. There is another bigger problem.

    In today’s Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee’s column references comments by Doug Ford:

    “The mayor has a solid plan for Sheppard, laid out in a report by former city councillor Gordon Chong”.

    Great — let’s start digging the TBM access shaft.

    I hope the Mayor read the report.

    At election time there were other candidates that had weird proposals (John Sewell used the word ‘weird’). One candidate proposed 100% subways in lieu of LRT’s. Members of that candidate’s team actually canvased our neighbourhood. My wife answered the door and they presented their 100% subway plan. My wife told them it did not make sense. They responded by saying that it did and they had crunched the numbers to prove it. Luckily that candidate did not win.

    Another quote from Marcus Gee’s column.

    “On Wednesday night he ( Rob Ford) went for a ride on the subway. He found that people riding the subway want more subways . ‘The proof is in the pudding’ crowed the mayor to CP24”.

    A novel way of doing conceptual or preliminary engineering/planning for billion dollar mass transit lines.

    There is another problem here.

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  8. Steve: The Downtown Relief Line. If we are going to spend money on a subway, build one we actually need.

    But we cannot call it the “downtown” relief line. How about we all agree to start calling it the “Don Valley” line or the “Don Mills” Line … after all, if we can call the Yonge-University-Spadina line by a less-than accurate name (it really should be Yonge-University-Allen, shouldn’t it), then “Don Mills” or “Don Valley” would work.

    Ross Wright said:

    ps: Mayor Hazel should have picked up a lot of the tab long ago as her buses are wearing out Toronto’s roads coming to Islington. I mean why didn’t she chip in years ago and have the line extended from Kipling to Dixie Rd? She robbed a lot of Toronto jobs,but didn’t keep up very well with transit demand as more employees went out there. I know now there is a new terminal in the works for TTC, GO and Mississauga at Kipling Stn.

    Having used Mississauga buses to get to Toronto for about 5 years, I would definitely say that there continue to be issues with Mississauga Transit and TTC. The fact that Mississauga Transit still comes into Islington even though the subway was extended to Kipling more than 2 decades ago is really disappointing. Kipling should have been the ‘regional hub’ years ago.

    It’s interesting to note that, if the Scarborough RT had been built as an LRT using the CLRVs technology as originally planned, we would also now have an Etobicoke running out of Kipling station … initially to the airport and by now, reaching Humber College.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  9. Mike says:

    OK who do i have to sleep with to get the waterfront west LRT back on track?

    Moaz: how about asking them to vote for a Queensway-Lakeshore “LRT” that runs from Long Branch to Dundas West station … that way you would only have to take them to dinner.

    A Queensway-Lakeshore “LRT” would use streetcar technology (just as the Waterfront West LRT was going to do), it would provide better service to Long Branch, Lakeshore Village (New Toronto), Mimico, Humber Bay Shores and Parkdale & Roncy (just as Steve Munro and many others have been calling for) and help make the Queen streetcar more reliable.

    It also gets an “LRT” into Toronto quickly, without having to do much … we already have the ROW on Queensway, and Lakeshore is quite wide … maybe just put some of those thin plastic bollards on the Lakeshore segment and voila, we have an “LRT”.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: But you forget the most important part. The TTC doesn’t like it because they would have to admit that the 501/507 combination years ago was a disaster. They’re always talking about how it would cost more to run a 507 to Dundas West, but never mention the degree to which this would provide more reliable and attractive service.

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  10. RobInNorthToronto you quoted Doug Ford from Gee’s column but left out what Gee (and many others) had to say:

    “He has nothing of the sort.

    Even Dr. Chong, a subway enthusiast, concedes that his report is only a preliminary look at what kind of financing tools the city could use to raise the billions needed to extend the Sheppard “stubway” to Scarborough city centre. Many of those tools, like road tolls, are things that Mr. Ford abhors.”

    The problem with Chong’s report is that:

    1) many of the tools he lays out, the city does NOT have the power to implement,
    2) even with all of possible revenue the plan is still a $1 billion short
    3) it ties up huge amounts of city revenue in one development that might not be warranted.

    Chong talks about using development levies but this money is usually collected by the city to pay for new roads, sewers, schools, etc when there is new development. If all this money is tied to Sheppard (and the report implies it would use development fees from all over the city), how is the city to fund the other aspects of growth that a Sheppard subway is supposed to spark?

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  11. Robert Wightman said:

    Have I missed an important announcement? What Agincourt Crosstown GO line? Is this a reality or someone’s wishful thinking from seeing a map of CP tracks going from Agincourt across Toronto just north of Bloor St? I cannot see CP letting their right of way being used for more commuter rail without a fight. Also if you build it what would the passengers transfer to in order to get downtown. Yonge and University would not have the capacity to handle them.

    Moaz says: I once heard a rumour about the proposal for the Agincourt-Crosstown GO line that basically detailed the “fight” that CP was quietly putting up. It’s certainly a tough situation and I don’t see anything happening on that rail corridor for a long time – especially as long as it is CP’s mainline through Toronto. And you are right about the issue of transfers to the TTC subway lines, but I also wonder about the potential for GO-GO transfers in Toronto’s future.

    By the way, I noticed that Rosie DiManno of the Star was channeling Sue-Ann Levy of the Sun, talking about how (supposedly) LRT was really second-rate streetcars, Toronto is becoming a second-rate city that doesn’t dream big, etc. Compare them if you like, but not on a full stomach:

    Rosie DiManno
    Sue-Ann Levy

    Steve: I was very disappointed in DiManno’s article.

    My question is why aren’t those who want subways screaming for more funding for public transit, including actual, consistent funding plans, not to mention a large amount from the Federal Government. Forget about the laughable “big lie” about “private investment” … that isn’t going to happen unless a lot more is done to make government funding more stable and reliable, not to mention that the private sector will wait until they see success before investing.

    If you look at the ratio of funding sources for public transit, including these disputed projects, the Federal Government is doing almost nothing and no one is calling them on it or holding their feet to the fire at all. Mayor Miller made some attempts, but Ford did nothing … he did not go to the Prime Minister even when he had a supposedly-conservative “Ford nation” ready to back him up.

    Cheers, Moaz

    ps. Steve, my apologies for the flood of comments.

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  12. @Michael Forest,

    I agree that the Finch LRT should have been prioritised from the beginning over Sheppard East. However, if only the section between Humber College and Keele Street is to be built first, then the earliest that a Finch LRT can open is 2015, pending the opening of the Spadina Subway extension.

    If we really wanted to open the Finch LRT before 2015 (which is rather unrealistic, in my opinion), then we have to build the entire line from Yonge to Humber College in one shot.

    Steve, is the cost of the Finch LRT at Keele Street part of the Spadina Subway extension project, or the Finch LRT project itself? Is this reflected in the current cost estimates for the LRT lines?

    Steve: There is physical provision in Finch West Station to connect the passage from the LRT station, but the cost of that station is in the LRT budget. Of course it would be a bit less if they were both built in the same contract. Perish the thought we might do something efficiently.

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  13. It would be ironic if all that Sheppard gets is a subway extension to Victoria Park so that it covers the whole east end of Toronto before dead ending right at the edge of Scarborough, after hearing so much about Scarborough getting screwed by the LRT line at that city council meeting, given the LRT would have actually crossed the old municipal boundary and provided service in Scarborough.

    Steve: We can put a secondary exit east of Vic Park.

    It sure is going to be interesting to see how the fallout from that vote develops over the next few months. I wonder how the mayor’s office, TTC and Metrolinx are going to take to being directed to proceed with the approved plan considering their apparent objectives were all so different from what council approved and is being backed by Queen’s Park? Unfortunately, I don’t rule out people who were not in favour of what was approved trying to sabotage the whole thing by simply refusing to co-operate or cause the projects to go over budget to try and get them dropped later and it’s that kind of quiet bureaucratic backlash that worries me the most at this point.

    Steve: My biggest long term worry is Metrolinx who I do not trust one bit on this.

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  14. Steve, what differences, if any, are there between the ‘Stintz’ plan and the original Transit City plan for Eglinton LRT?

    Steve: Not much. There has been talk of the line staying underground from Don Mills Station to east of the DVP, but that’s the only real difference. Of course the original TC plan went to the airport, not just Jane.

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  15. Someone needs to give Emery Village a blunt warning that if they want construction havoc and neighbourhood devastation, then fighting tooth-and-nail against the LRT is a good idea.

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  16. By the way Steve, what’s your take on this ridiculous move?

    Steve: I am not surprised considering that this is the centre of Mammoville, home (proposed) of the largest flagpole in Canada, provided it can find private sector funding.

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  17. @Robert Wightman

    I agree that the Agincourt-Crosstown line isn’t doable without the DRL to intercept riders before they hit Yonge Street.

    Regarding why Sheppard was prioritised over Finch by McGuinty is anyone’s guess. My guess would be to avoid having two separate LRT divisions in the short term, since a Sheppard LRT, SRT, and an Eglinton LRT can all be physically connected.

    If Finch was to be deferred into the latter half of this decade, perhaps Queens Park was hoping that they’d have enough money to start on a Jane LRT to connect it with the Eglinton LRT. Thoughts?

    And another question. During the meeting, Gary Webster said that he would prioritise the Sheppard LRT over the Finch LRT. Do you know his reason?

    Steve: Probably the same analysis as yours. Also, if we’re going to get a Sheppard LRT, get building before someone changes their mind again.

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  18. I would like all the LRT supporters to still educate Toronto residents just on what we are getting.

    I was talking with another friend the other night who was confused as to what LRT meant in the Transit City Plan. When we started talking about the plan, she said “I know what LRT is, it is like the one in Manila”. In case you guys don’t know, the Manila LRT is a fully grade separated elevated subway. When she found out Transit City LRT was not going to be like the Manila LRT, she did not like the idea of building Transit City.

    People want full grade separated rapid transit.

    A Transit City streetcar network(which is what Transit City is) is fine for feeder service. But not for trunk routes which need to provide rapid transit.

    It seems every time I talk to a regular resident here in Toronto who is not obsessed with transit, they always are confused as to what “LRT” actually means. And they almost always think it means “modern LRT” like you see in Calgary or Manila, etc.

    So I think all you supporters of Transit City need to get out there and tell the residents what we are actually getting, and then poll support for the plan.

    I believe in debate and think Transit City supporters should have their say. But I have to say that the Transit City supporters have really been using very weird reasoning for not supporting grade separated rapid transit (be it subway or elevated).

    Since when has going down an escalator to a subway been such a big deal? I never have talked to anyone who felt that going into a subway station was a waste of travel time.

    Steve: But we hear endlessly about how much time people waste making transfers at locations such as Kennedy or Don Mills Stations. Also, going down into a subway has varying degrees of ease depending on the station design and whether the rider is fully ambulatory.

    Anyway I think it is time to get out there and tell people what we really are getting. Because right now people are being misled into thinking we are getting LRT that is fully grade separated and fast like modern LRT in other cities. However we are not getting that, and it has to be told to the public.

    Steve: Nobody is telling the public that LRT is fully grade separated. I agree that some people do not understand the details of the proposals, but they have been quite clearly presented as at-grade, median operations from the very beginning.

    Just for reference, people I notice love to remark on Paris’ LRT as what Toronto is getting. Paris does not call their so called LRT, LRT. They call it TRAM, because the lines do not provide modern rapid transit. They provide a local service, like a streetcar.

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  19. I would also like to say that I am very worried by the complete lack of history and knowledge of the Toronto transit network by many Transit City supporters.

    Many TC supporters go on about Toronto not being able to support subway service in outer areas. This to me signifies a complete lack of knowledge into how the Toronto transit network operates, and why it has had success.

    Toronto’s subway network and transit system operates as well as it does, because feeder bus service increases the catchment area of subway stations, to beyond walking distance. This is what has allowed subway stations in the suburbs to capture such huge passenger loads, and for bus service to operate at frequent levels along streets like Finch.

    This total disregard for Toronto’s transit history, and the success we have had in this set up, is really concerning.

    Steve: It is exactly that feeder system and extended catchment area that brings me to the issue of subways as trunk routes versus subways as generators of development. We see an excellent example of this on the BD line where the subway passes through long areas of low-rise housing close to a century old while carrying thousands of riders delivered to outlying stations by buses (and by the SRT). The subway also gets substantial demand along its route from more local feeders and from walk-in trade. However, the demand accumulates from many stations along the route’s length.

    The issue on the “Transit City” routes turns on whether we believe that accumulated demand will ever reach the level where something beyond surface LRT is needed. On Eglinton, the busy central section of the line will already be underground, and this gives some headroom for growth that would not exist with an all-surface version. Elsewhere, the projected demand is nowhere near subway territory.

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  20. Michael says:

    “Toronto’s subway network and transit system operates as well as it does, because feeder bus service increases the catchment area of subway stations, to beyond walking distance. This is what has allowed subway stations in the suburbs to capture such huge passenger loads, and for bus service to operate at frequent levels along streets like Finch.”

    I think Michael makes a good point here (and I’m saying this as a Transit City supporter).

    I would also like to add, if we’re building a subway to an empty field in Vaughan why not build subways in Etobicoke and Scarborough – places where people actually live. Scarborough has a population density of 3161 km2 while Etobicoke’s population density is 2728 km2. Compare that to Vaughan which has a population density of only 1054 km2.

    Steve: I wonder how many people who have ridiculed building a subway to Vaughan will now use it to justify building subways everywhere else. The Vaughan line exists only because it is politically very well-connected, not because it is justified by demand.

    Some of the comments here are opposed to building anything in Scarborough whether that be LRT’s or subways. This plays right into Doug Ford’s rhetoric that there are factions in the city that would treat Scarborough residents as second-class citizens. This plays into the politics of division and isn’t helpful in the transit planning process.

    Scarborough has a land area of 187 km2 which is about 30% of the City of Toronto. It also has a population of over 600,000 which is approximately 23% of City of Toronto. It’s past time this part of the city received better public transit whether that be LRT’s or subways. Letting em’ ride buses isn’t a solution to the growing traffic congestion and the daily 3 to 4 hour TTC commutes east-end residents face.

    Steve: I would say you are misrepresenting the comments here. I don’t remember many saying “don’t build in Scarborough”, and I for one would love to see all of Transit City built and then some. Pieces have been falling off of Scarborough’s map since long before Mayor Ford was elected thanks to penny-pinching at Queen’s Park. However, if Scarborough waits for subways, it will get next to nothing.

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  21. In regards to the comments about the 501/507:

    Recently I was waiting (for an extremely long time) at Humber Loop for an eastbound streetcar. I noticed something rather interesting – The NA switch westbound on the main line considers the turnback loop to be the primary route. After all this time the former 507 trackage from here west is still considered a secondary branch. No wonder they treat it with such disdain. (Although this doesn’t explain why it took half an hour to catch an eastbound car at a scheduled short-turn point.)

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  22. Steve said: “I wonder how many people who have ridiculed building a subway to Vaughan will now use it to justify building subways everywhere else. The Vaughan line exists only because it is politically very well-connected, not because it is justified by demand.”

    It occurred to me recently, while looking at Google maps, just how close this extension comes to ending next to a massive railway freight yard, surrounded by major industry, and also the monster UPS facility. Most riders in this area will depend on feeder buses or round-about driving to get to the station. It would be amazing if any serious “classy downtown environment” as envisioned formed in such an area. The spectre of a “Walmart Station” is tough to stomach (much like the McDonalds restaurant fare within) yet entirely plausible.

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  23. Kristian said:

    “It would be amazing if any serious “classy downtown environment” as envisioned formed in such an area.”

    To be charitable, there are some similarities to this with downtown Toronto 50-100 years ago. However, those similarities are superficial at best.

    —-

    And by this little nugget in the globe today, it’s now fair to say that the prospect of private financing for the Sheppard subway is officially dead.

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  24. Various thoughts I am placing here rather than creating several very short posts, since they were triggered by this.

    I was very surprised when Karen Stintz started the petition to call this special meeting. However, once I thought about it a while I realized I should not be. I have attended several public `meetings at which she was present, and I had noted that she seemed much less stridently pro-subway recently. The first couple of meetings she was forcefully presenting the mayor’s proposal, but she did actually listen to the comments made and soon stopped that vehement support (although she did not promote above-ground either). I am certain that those critics (on other sites) who accuse her of a sudden reversal due solely to pique are wrong.

    While on the subject of public meetings, Minister Wynne was present at several of them. I told her that I was not at all sure that creating the MoU was the correct decision. Her reply was that she did it because she was not willing to lose the Eglinton LRT entirely. I did not really understand that reply until I read (either here on on a linked site) that Ford’s original demand was to cancel all projects including Eglinton in order to build Sheppard. This certainly placed the decision in a different light, given that Ford might have had the power to force a cancellation through council at that time.

    Finally, people might find Rick Mercer’s take on Rapid Transit interesting. It is not about the GTA specifically, but I still think it is relevant.

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  25. Steve comments: “The TTC …. would have to admit that the 501/507 combination years ago was a disaster.”

    It’s not 2006/2007 any more. The short-turning issues have been majorly cleaned up. Short turns of Long-Branch cars short of Kipling are almost unheard-of, and I have been turfed at Kipling once that I can recall this year.

    Inadequate service remains an issue, but where on the TTC is it not an issue? Headways west of Humber keep getting longer, but this is inevitable as there is no will to provide better service and the local Councillor is fixated on his pet express bus and also voting for subways for Sheppard East. A separate 507 won’t get any better service; we’d just get the occasional, overcrowded CLRVs instead.

    The “507 will provide a connection to the subway” argument is much overstated. Anyone on the west end of Lake Shore is going to take the 123 Shorncliffe, 110/110A/110B Islington South, or particularly the frequent 44 Kipling South to the subway. The 76 Royal York South bus gets good reviews from Mimico residents. Someone in the Humber Bay area can take the 66 Prince Edward to the subway, and on the east side of the Humber the 77 Swansea and occasional 80 Queensway also head to the subway.

    The demand for trips from Lake Shore to destinations along Roncesvalles doesn’t seem that high. Judging by the number of people who transfer at Roncesvalles, as well as the high preference for a 501 streetcar over a 508 streetcar, a large majority of people from Lake Shore who arrive at Roncesvalles want to continue east on Queen.

    The 507/508 combination can provide advantages to riders on Roncesvalles and King, but I don’t think they will provide any advantages to riders to and from Lake Shore. (In fact, King is slower than Queen.)

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  26. Ed wrote

    “It’s not 2006/2007 any more. The short-turning issues have been majorly cleaned up. Short turns of Long-Branch cars short of Kipling are almost unheard-of, and I have been turfed at Kipling once that I can recall this year.”

    Well, I’m glad to hear that Bussin managed to push the 501 to be more functional.

    But barely a day doesn’t go by when I’m not short-turned on either the 504 or 506 – and often both during the same trip!

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  27. “But barely a day doesn’t go by when I’m not short-turned on either the 504 or 506 – and often both during the same trip!”

    Lots of short turns everywhere: I have been turfed off a southbound Islington bus at Rexdale, and southbound Shorncliffe buses at both Sherway and Horner, this year. As a percentage of trips short-turned, these bus routes are worse for me than the Queen car; I ride them a few times a month if that, while riding the Queen car pretty much daily.

    The key points are:

    1. The Queen car is, these days, not noticeably worse than other routes for short-turning.
    2. Attributing the Queen car’s short-turns — whether excessive or “normal” — to the 501/507 merger almost 20 years ago, is not helpful.

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